World Blue Economies – Values and Developments


America Blue Economy

The United States’ marine economy contributed about $373 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product in 2018 and grew faster than the nation’s economy as a whole, according to new statistics released recently by two U.S. Department of Commerce agencies.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in measuring the economic force of the nation’s oceans. Specifically, the “ocean economy’s” contribution to gross domestic product from commercial fishing, ship and boat building, ports, offshore oil and gas, tourism and recreational fishing, and other economic activity dependent on the oceans.

“These statistics are the first-of-its-kind estimate of the U.S. marine economy, a primary driver of jobs, innovation and economic growth,” said retired Navy Rear Admiral Tim Gallaudet, Ph.D., assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and deputy NOAA administrator. “Data such as these provide a critical baseline to inform, track progress and accelerate America’s economic recovery.”

The study considered 10 sectors representing businesses dependent on the nation’s oceans, coasts and Great Lakes between the years 2014 and 2018. It found marine-related gross domestic product grew 5.8% from 2017 to 2018, faster than the 5.4% growth of the total U.S. gross domestic product as measured in current dollars. Businesses included in the report also supported 2.3 million jobs in 2018.

“The marine economy statistics clarify just how dependent America is on our waters,” said Nicole LeBoeuf, acting director of NOAA’s National Ocean Service. “It is nearly impossible for most Americans to go a single day without eating, wearing or using products that come from or through our coastal communities.”

“This ocean data that can be compared with our official statistics on other U.S. industries and with the ocean economies of other nations,” said Mary Bohman, BEA’s acting director. “These prototype statistics offer a baseline for understanding the importance of the ocean economy, including recreation, seafood, transportation and ship building. Businesses, policymakers, and coastal communities can use these economic data as a compass as they chart the way forward.”

European Union Blue Economy

The European Commission (EC) published the first annual report on the state of the EU blue economy on 27 June 2018. The report shows that the European maritime economy is a driver of economic growth, jobs and innovation.

Representing 1.3% of the total European Gross Domestic Product, the maritime economy is a dynamically growing sector with a turnover of €566 billion, generating €174 billion of value added and providing jobs for 3 and a half million people in Europe. For the purposes of the report, the blue economy represents all economic activities related to oceans, seas or coastal areas, such as fisheries, aquaculture and tourism as well as emerging industries, like ocean energy and blue biotechnology. In several EU member states, the blue economy has grown faster than the national economy in the last decade.

The report, which was co-authored by the EC’s Joint Research Centre, presents the current status and recent trends in the six established blue economy sectors in different EU Member States, to gain insight into where new opportunities and sustainable competitive advantage may be found. The EC sees the report as supporting policymakers and stakeholders in creating new business opportunities and in managing the resources of oceans, seas and coastal resources in a sustainable manner.

Africa Blue Economy

There is enormous untapped opportunity to develop Africa’s maritime, or blue, economy, which in turn will help reduce poverty; create employment, growth and exports; and strengthen food and energy security. However, a number of challenges have held back progress.

→ through recent initiatives by a growing number of African countries, the African Union and multilateral development partners, slow but important progress is now being made.

→ Several further steps are also needed, including strengthening African maritime security and coastal protection, developing national blue economy strategies, accelerating training, raising private sector awareness of blue economy opportunities and sharing emerging good practices more widely. New catalysts are also needed to spur renewed momentum and more intensive, collaborative action among African stakeholders in the blue economy.

Africa has about 38 coastal and island states, 13 million km2 of collective exclusive economic zones (EEZs) and a coastline of over 47,000 km (African Union 2012). There is an enormous untapped potential for African countries, and for the African continent as a whole, to develop the sectors typically associated with the “blue economy.”

For example, expanding fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, transportation and maritime and inland ports can all help to reduce African poverty and enhance food and energy security, employment, economic growth and exports, ocean health and sustainable use of ocean resources. More than 12 million people are employed in fisheries alone, the largest of the African blue economy sectors, providing food security and nutrition for over 200 million Africans and generating value added estimated at more than US$24 billion or 1.26 percent of the GDP of all African countries (de Graaf and Garibaldi 2014).

Recognizing the breadth of economic potential, extensive coastline and abundance of maritime resources, the African Union, in 2014, endorsed the 2050 Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy (2050 AIM Strategy), a long-term strategic vision for the development of Africa’s blue economy.

Some African countries  through their maritime agencies like Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency blue economy project , South African Operation  Phakisa focused on South Africa 2030 development plan, Mauritius Blue Economy Ministry, Seychelles’ with Africa second largest EEZ have  undertaken Their  first steps in visioning and prioritizing blue economy sectors and understanding the risks to ocean health.

Many have also not yet developed integrated blue economy strategies and road maps. The sweeping continental vision for an African blue economy, envisaged by the 2050 AIM Strategy, remains far from realization, with the initial time frames for implementation behind schedule. Several factors account for this.

First, African countries have limited Sea research institutions /centers and infrastructure. Coastal protection safety both of which are essential for establishing a viable blue economy and curb illegal maritime activities, One-fifth of the world’s fisheries catch is estimated to originate from illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Africa

East Asian Blue Economy

The East Asian Seas (EAS) region is recognized as the center of marine biodiversity globally, being home to 31% of the world’s mangroves, 33% of sea grass beds and a third of the world’s coral reefs. Countries of the EAS region account for 80% of global aquaculture, and around 60% of the World’s capture fisheries. Moreover, the region’s seas serve as an important conduit for 90% of world trade through shipping. Moreover, the EAS region is a center of economic growth, home to the 2nd and 3rd largest economies of the world (China and Japan, respectively), and the combined economies of ASEAN, which represent the world’s 5th largest economy and the 3rd largest global market with more than 630 million people

Blue Economy Growth in the East Asian Seas Region The blue economy paradigm is focused on the economic perspective of the ocean economy and the natural capital assets of oceans, harnessing the oceans for economic growth and livelihoods while meeting the goals of healthy oceans and sustainable development. This has emerged as a feasible development path where economic growth is driven by consumption and investments that prevent the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services, reduce pollution, enhance resource efficiency, reduce carbon and water footprints, and promote inclusiveness.

Blue Economy

1 Changwon Declaration, EAS Congress 2012 Ministerial Forum: “We understand the Blue Economy to be a practical ocean-based economic model using green infrastructure and technologies, innovative financing mechanisms, and proactive institutional arrangements for meeting the twin goals of protecting our oceans and coasts and enhancing their potential contribution to sustainable development, including improving human well-being, and reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.”

State of Oceans and Coasts 2018

Ocean-based economic activities are those sectors conducted in the marine waters (e.g., fisheries, marine tourism, ports and shipping, offshore oil and gas, desalination, ocean energy, marine construction; etc.). Ocean-related economic activities are those sectors that use inputs from the oceans – forward linkages (e.g., seafood processing, marine biotechnology, etc.), and those that produce outputs for the oceans and ocean-based activities –building and repair of ships and boats; manufacturing and repair of marine equipment; maritime finance and insurance; marine education and R&D; etc. Information for the ocean economy accounts come from the National Income Accounts (outputs, gross value added and employment), industry classification (ISIC or country equivalent), Input-Output tables, census, and survey of establishments. Harnessing the Ocean State of Ocean and Coasts (SOC) Reports on Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, RO Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Viet Nam capture initial estimates of their ocean economies – measured as the sum of the economic activities of ocean-based and ocean-related industries, together with the natural assets, goods and services of marine ecosystems upon which these industries depend and people rely on for food, income, livelihood, recreation, shoreline protection and climate regulation, among others. The ocean economy (including blue economy initiatives) as reported by 10 countries is estimated to be approximately US$1.4 trillion in value added. Around 54 million people are reported to be employed in ocean industries in 10 countries.

The region’s ocean provides services that are not usually quantified, such as regulating services (e.g., carbon storage, shoreline protection, waste assimilation, nutrient cycling), supporting services (e.g., habitat, nursery), and cultural services. For the provisioning services (e.g., fisheries), market prices are available, and usually captured in the GDP (production or supply side — GVA of ocean economic activities). For the supporting and regulating services, these are the indirect use and nonuse values, and usually do not have market prices. For cultural services, these include the spiritual, cultural and recreational values. Recreation may already be reflected in national income accounts to some extent. Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Services for 8 countries, the total estimated value of coastal and marine ecosystems is around US$681 billion. The potential blue carbon value in the region in terms of carbon sequestration was estimated to be US$111 billion for mangroves, and US$77-95 billion for sea grass.

Australia Blue Economy

According to the Australia index of Marine Industry 2018, The Index was developed to provide a regular update of the economic value of Australia’s marine environment. It confines its focus to economic output and value-add of marine based sectors to allow comparison with other sectors of the Australian economy, and shows how these are trending over time. Australia’s marine jurisdiction is the third largest in the world after France and the USA, with an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) covering 10.2 million square kilometers.

The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) is Australia’s tropical marine research agency. Its mission is to provide the research and knowledge of Australia’s tropical marine estate required to support growth in its sustainable use, effective environmental management and protection of its unique ecosystems. The Institute’s research supports government in development of marine policy, enables evidence-based decisions by the public and private sectors, works in partnership with the traditional owners of our coastline and sea country, and provides trusted advice to the community at large about the state of our unique tropical marine ecosystems.

In 2018, AIMS launched its Strategy 2025 which provides a clear and concise description of AIMS key research and development priorities for the next 7 years. Australia’s population is concentrated in the coastal zone, with more than 85% living within 50 km of the ocean. More than 70% of Australia’s territory lies beneath the ocean. The sea is part of our national identity, and of deep cultural significance to our indigenous peoples. It is home to a wondrous and amazing diversity of life, including our iconic coral reefs. But our marine estate is also a significant and growing source of wealth for all Australians. This year’s update confirms the significant contribution our marine industries (collectively referred to as our “Blue Economy”) make to our national economy.

In 2015-16 (the most recent available data) the blue economy was worth $68.1 billion. Over the past decade, it has been one of the fastest growing parts of our economy, and as a whole, is larger than our agricultural sector. And while this analysis does not include important environmental and social values (which are considerable), it does show just how important the oceans are, in an economic sense, to our island-continent nation. Growth in the sustainable use of our oceans is vital to Australia’s future prosperity.

AIMS: is here to help ensure that this occurs in a way that also preserves and protects our oceans’ unique ecosystems now and in the future.

Paul Hardisty, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Institute of Marine Science

Sources: Wikipedia, Africa progress panel 2014, Money financing Africa green and blue, Africa union 2012-2050, AIMS strategy. SAFETY4SEA, gCaptain, maritime journal newsletter, PEMSEA, EC news, JRC news Ec annual blue economy report,Green shoot for Africa Economy, Cyrus Rustomjee, A policy brief 132 may 2018, Australia AIMS index of Marine Industry 2018, Australia Instutute of Marine Science.

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